Olson to lead new AHA welfare initiative

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In February the American Humane Association announced that Dr. Patricia N. Olson had been named chief veterinary adviser for the AHA and head of the organization's new Animal Welfare and Research Institute.

The institute's work will be directed at improving the lives of animals as well as those of the people who interact with them daily, according to AHA President and Chief Executive Officer Robin R. Ganzert, PhD.

"Dr. Olson's exceptional background in veterinary science, research, education, animal welfare, and human-animal interaction, along with her strategic insight, make her an ideal leader for our Animal Welfare and Research Institute," Dr. Ganzert said.

Dr. Olson
Dr. Patricia N. Olson

The former president and chief executive officer of Morris Animal Foundation is a highly sought-after speaker and counselor to organizations and governmental agencies around the world. Dr. Olson has held leadership positions with a number of organizations, including Guide Dogs for the Blind Inc. and the Center to Study Human-Animal Relationships and Environments at the University of Minnesota. She is a co-founder of the National Council on Pet Population Study and Policy, a group that identified risk factors and intervention strategies for pet relinquishment.

As AHA chief veterinary adviser, Dr. Olson is responsible for a range of AHA activities that include identifying research opportunities to advance the health and welfare of children and animals, using science to define key elements that advance and sustain the human-animal bond, promoting and developing academic programs to enhance veterinary education in animal welfare, identifying strategies for research opportunities to prevent disease and injury to animals, promoting scientific discovery to advance legislative and regulatory changes for the benefit of animals, and developing strategic alliances and partnerships with organizations and institutions to promote animal health and welfare.

"I am thrilled to work for an association that strives to make our world a better place for animals and children," Dr. Olson said. "Strategic science should help both of these vulnerable populations enjoy happier and healthier lives. As both a veterinarian and a grandmother, this is a goal that I am happy and honored to work toward."